Friday , Feb , 02 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Magic going through tough stretch

(Sports Network) – A five-game winning streak in early January seemed to
serve as a notice to the Southeast Division that the Orlando Magic were the
team to beat.

In 10 games since, however, the Magic have won just twice and posted a season-
high five-game losing streak. The club allowed over 100 points in five of
those games while topping the century mark just twice themselves. Five of
Orlando’s setbacks came on the road, where the team is just 9-13.

Consequently, the club is now 24-22 on the season — seventh in the East —
and is 3 1/2 games back of the streaking Washington Wizards, who have won
seven of their last nine.

Despite the rough stretch, Magic center Dwight Howard continues to be a force.
He leads the team in scoring (16.8 points) and rebounds (12.1) and on Thursday
earned his first trip to the All-Star Game when he was named a reserve for the
East.

The third-year center is the first Magic player to participate in the contest
since Grant Hill in 2005.

Hill suffered a setback himself this week when he sprained his right knee in a
win over Milwaukee on Wednesday. An MRI the next day revealed a sprained
medial collateral ligament. Hill is expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks.

The oft-injured Hill, who is Orlando’s second leading scorer with 15.1 points
per game, has played in 60 or more games just twice in his pervious seven
seasons.

Orlando hosts New Jersey and New York in back-to-back home tilts beginning
Friday to close out a three-game homestand and will also play Milwaukee and
Toronto next week on the road. It will serve as a good stretch to get back on
track as only one of those teams (Toronto) has a better record than the Magic.

ORL